Cisco Houston Web Site

Cinema Mysteries

Disappointment Reigns

Not-So-Breaking News!

This site has been around for many years now, celebrating a relatively unknown folksinger in a world that values celebrity and electric, trivial music. In each of those years we have wondered why no biographical film of Cisco was ever made. And we've done a bit of fantasizing about how we would do it. Not only was Cisco a charming and personable guy, but he was tall and handsome and a darn good singer who lived through a variety of tumultuous times and did it with lots of folks who became famous. If we can have biographies of Patch Adams and Larry Flynt, why not Cisco Houston?

A glimmer of hope appeared in 2008. At the time, I recognized that the chasm between beginning the planning of thinking about getting ready to start to initiate talks about opening the process of making a film, and seeing that film in the theater, is a gap larger than that between Obama and me, but I also knew that a couple of hundred times a year that canyon was bridged. Usually, in my mind, not very successfully, but we hoped.

So, Woody, Cisco, and Me by Jim Longhi was be filmed directed by Mimi Leder. The tentative title was Remember Their Names, with a script by Reuben Leder, the director's brother.

I tried to contact the film makers and the lawyers representing the production, and had no success. The Internet had no newer information; I had given up ever seeing this film. And then the fears were confirmed. I received this from Jaime Longhi:

I refused to renew the option on the book. The movie was moving ahead, gathering steam. Unfortunately, they put sensationalism and visual effect ahead of truth (big surprise). But it was awful. Their screenplay called for Cisco to break up a fight involving Jim and two goon-squad types by smashing his guitar over the head of one of the goonies. When I told the writer that Cisco nearly died several times to save his guitar, and that it was his only guitar, AND that Cisco was good enough with his fists not to need a guitar, they thought I was being a stickler !! It got worse as it went on. Honor or Fame? I chose honor for the love of them all.

We shake our heads. That's a shame. We can't imagine that a fight scene would be vital to the film when you have the fear of death daily and especially nightly, and the depth charges going off and scaring the troops down in the hold. One of their ships was torpedoed but not sunk, and I would think that the violence of war and the political and social and racial quarrels between men in close quarters could be shown without sacrificing a guitar. Why isn't it good enough for Cisco to come to Jim's aid with only his fists and his poor vision? And hitting a guy with your musical instrument has been done in movies probably scores of times. So as much as we would like to see the film, we certainly respect this decision.

I do wish Jamie would flesh out those tantalizing asserions. How did Cisco nearly die defending his guitar? Does anyone know how Cisco got such a valuable instrument? Was Cisco a regular brawler? Woody too? Etc...

Well, There's Something

A sharp-eyed observer from India (thanks Aaron!) identified Cisco in the Audie Murphy film The Wild and the Innocent. Cisco has a small part within the first few minutes. Lots of famous faces in this. While there are many guys with cowboy hats in later scenes, Cisco does not appear to have had any more to do. He earned a few bucks, delivered a couple of lines, and was done. The one funny thing is that as they are passing the jug around, he passes it without drinking! Many ways that could be understood, but no idea which one would be accurate.

Here's a link to not-very-good screenshots. But you can see it is Cisco!

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